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HIV-1 co/super-infection in intravenous drug users.
BACKGROUND: The frequency of HIV-1 co/super-infection is unknown despite their implications for public health and vaccine development. This issue was addressed during an epidemic of both CRF11 and B subtype among intravenous drug users (IVDUs). METHODS: Bulk sequencing of reverse transcriptase, protease and C2V3 regions and subtype-specific nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in plasma and proviral DNA were performed using baseline and follow-up samples collected in recently infected IVDUs between 1998-2002 and in IVDUs with chronic infection living in the same area and presenting an unexpected rise of viremia (> 1 log10). RESULTS: In 58 recently infected patients, three B/CRF-11 co-infections, 25 B, 28 CRF-11 and two other subtypes were detected at baseline. In the three co-infected patients, both CRF-11 and B were detected in plasma and proviral DNA and persisted during follow-up. B- and CFR-11-specific PCR performed on follow-up samples of 40 of 58 recently infected patients (median follow-up, 14.5 months) revealed a transient B super-infection in a patient initially infected by CRF-11. Five of 156 chronic IVDUs (total follow-up: 346 years) had an unexpected rise of viremia. In two of them, aviremic without treatment for years after an initial B infection, a symptomatic CRF-11 super-infection occurred and was associated with high viral load and a fall of CD4 cell count. CONCLUSIONS: In recently infected IVDUs, co-infection B/CRF-11 is relatively frequent (5%). In chronically infected IVDUs super-infection may be transient and may occur in patients controlling efficiently HIV infection by the initial strain.
Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Female, HIV Infections, HIV Reverse Transcriptase, HIV-1, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Phylogeny, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Sensitivity and Specificity, Sequence Alignment, Substance Abuse, Intravenous, Superinfection
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